I am going to have a difficult conversation with a visitor in our church who has been a "friend of the family" for years. She is convinced that the call to discipleship is largely optional, that it was only meant for the original listeners (the people directly mentioned or the specific church addressed), and the principles therefore can't be applied to us. How would you guide her toward the truth in a loving way?—L.H.

I assume your friend has spent little (any?) time in the gospels themselves. Please suggest that she take a look at the gospels. The Word is powerful, and if she's receptive her attitude will begin to shift. She has bought into ubiquitous "clergy-laity" thinking. (For more on that, see Jacoby & Harris, Informed, chapter 2.)

If she's equating disciples with the Disciples (the Twelve), then you can show her that all Christians are "saints" (Eph 1:1). See also 1 Pet 2:9-10; 1 John 2:3-6.